“I’ll never forget the moment I realised that I needed to hire more people. And that with the help of EFSE, I could.”
Ever since she can remember, Manana Chqareuli has loved sewing. Friends, family, neighbours – whoever needed a rip repaired, a patch sewn on, a hem taken in, or some other alteration, would always find Manana thread and needle in hand.
“I can’t really explain what it is, I just enjoy watching it all come together at my fingertips and then holding up the result of my work, and thinking, I did this, it’s something real, and it’s going to make somebody happy,” Manana muses. “Especially when they come to me with a challenging repair or alteration and tell me they don’t expect a miracle.”
Judging by the twinkle in her eye, that’s exactly what seems to happen on a regular basis. “To my customers it’s a little miracle, to me it’s just doing what I love doing.”
It was a choice Manana made in 2013: at the time, she had been moonlighting as a seamstress for years, taking care of a small trickle of sewing jobs on the side. As news spread that Manana had turned her hobby into a full-time job, the trickle soon became a steady stream. Mancho – that’s the name of Manana’s company – had been in business barely a year when she knew she had made the right decision. She also knew that she needed more staff, more sewing machines, and above all, more space.
When Manana went to see the Bank of Georgia, a partner lending institution of the European Fund for South East Europe (EFSE) since 2010, she walked out with more than a loan. Manana started 2014 not only with enough financing to upgrade her equipment and lease a second workspace, but also with a dedicated advisor who would provide advice and support as she spread her wings.
By 2016, Manana and her team were also working for famous Georgian apparel brands. Running the business from two increasingly cramped workshops was becoming more and more difficult, and there was no way around hiring more staff to meet the growing demand. With a second loan, she was able to secure a large open space in a new building, increase her payroll, and invest in sewing machines. Mancho is now well on its way to becoming a brand in its own right.
“One of the many rewards of having your own business is to look back once in a while and marvel at how far you’ve come. And at what the future may hold in store. With the Bank of Georgia at my side, I can look ahead in confidence.”
European Fund for South East Europe
The European Fund for South East Europe aims to foster economic development and prosperity in the Southeast Europe region and in the European Eastern Neighbourhood region through the sustainable provision of additional development finance, notably to micro and small enterprises (MSEs) and private households, via qualified financial institutions like Bank of Georgia.
EFSE was initiated by KfW Development Bank (KfW) with the financial support of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the European Commission. In the Eastern Partnership region, the Fund receives EU support as part of the EU4Business initiative.